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Straight On Till Morning

September 5, 2008

“Then Peter knew there was not a moment to lose. ‘Come’, he cried imperiously, and soared out at once into the night followed by John and Michael and Wendy…

‘Second star to the right, and straight on till morning.’

That, Peter had told Wendy, was the way to Neverland.”

J.M. Barrie

“Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.”

Proverbs 4:25

A few months ago, Hugh and I started talking about a local church called Renovatus.  Their pastor, Jonathan Martin had visited and spoken at our church, and I cried through his entire sermon.  Hugh downloaded the sermon podcasts on my iPod, and I would head out for my morning walk listening to Jonathan talk about the Presence of God…or the need for transparency…or a hundred other things that stuck in my heart and head as I crunched along fallen leaves in early February.

“So, maybe we should think about visiting… at least once.” Hugh said.

No. No way. I told him.  I loved our church so deeply and I did not want to even entertain the idea of leaving.  Besides, I didn’t want to seem flaky, I said.

“Will you pray about it?” Hugh pushed.

“No.” I said firmly.

But I did pray, realizing that when I am unwilling to pray about something, it usually means that’s the first thing I need to bring to Jesus.

Horribly and wonderfully, the Holy Spirit led us to Renovatus.  I sent an email to my old church family. Crying as I typed: “Hugh and I aren’t angry…We love you…We’re not offended…But God is leading us somewhere else…”

The responses back ranged the gamut – from loving to awful. But at least the deed was done and we could go forward.

We’ve been at our new church for a few months now. The most difficult thing for me is realizing that Hugh and I are having very different journeys.  He has run with abandon into everything about this new church and he is exploding spiritually. He is praying more, reading the Bible like he hasn’t in years, and saturating himself in the Presence of God in this very deep and rich way.

It feels odd, and I don’t know what to do with it.  I’ve been spiritually strong for so long.  I don’t know if I like having Hugh being the one growing in leaps and bounds in Jesus. I want that for me.

Instead of growing spiritually, I am quietly dealing with this very personal grief of leaving my old church.  I miss it, I miss it, I miss it.  I cry several times a week, asking God if this really was the right choice and wishing I could go back.

“Look straight ahead, keep your eyes on what lies before you,” the Holy Spirit whispers. But I try and fail at it.  I just wish someone knew how sad I felt – or at least could share in it with me.  My husband, full of new love and growth in God, can’t share in the missing with me – He’s too busy being alive in Christ.

This is the part of the post where I try to say “and this is how God is moving and teaching me in this hard thing.” But today I just wanted to say that I feel sad. But I know that in the sadness, He really will be faithful.  He is teaching me to be deeply content in His Presence – not in a particular group of people or set of activities.  He wants my whole heart – and He hasn’t had it for a while.

I will continue to step forward – even in the sadness. I’ve grieved before – and I know the way out of it is to simply to keep moving.

So I will feel sad this Sunday when I leave a still-unfamiliar building and people.  But I will have worshiped my King on His day – and I will have focused on Him and become a little more like Jesus.

I will smile at the people behind me.  I will lift my hands during the singing.  I will go for coffee with Katrina (my new friend from Renovatus – she is, of course, wonderful). I will grin when I see my husband furiously writing notes from the sermon in his little brown notebook.

In the sadness, it will be enough.

And soon it will be morning.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2008 1:37 pm

    “And soon it will be morning…” That’s right…*hugs*

  2. September 5, 2008 1:59 pm

    I know you’re sad, friend. 😦 I’m looking forward to the post where you talk about how much you LOVE your new church and didn’t Hugh and God know better all along? 🙂 He is in both buildings. Um… how often did you pray for Hugh’s growth? Those prayers are being answered in your sight! 🙂

    You can pray for me… I go to my “new” Bible study on Tues where I anticipate being sad because it still isn’t my old one.

  3. Helka permalink
    September 5, 2008 5:17 pm

    Wow… u are teaching me a lot. Stay blessed.

  4. Katrina permalink
    September 5, 2008 8:07 pm

    I am honored that i made your blog 🙂 I have been exactly where you are my friend, and the Lord will bring you through this.His mercies are new every morning!
    By the way…when are we doing this coffee you speak of? 🙂

  5. September 5, 2008 10:14 pm

    My husband and I went thru this a year ago….leaving our old church….that we loved……because of God’s leading. We have been super blessed. But I still have times of REALLY missing our old friends….the worship…the bible studies, etc. Our new church doesn’t have as many people our age that are in our season of life….but I know that God can still work beautiful things thru the relationships of others….I will keep hoping and trusting! And Jess…I’ll be doing the same for you. And WATCH OUT! when the hubbies are on fire for the Lord again…..BIG THINGS happen! I’m excited to see what all God has in store for your household! Love you!

  6. September 6, 2008 6:50 pm

    Just wanted to say thanks for this post. It really made me think. I want you to know I’ve been praying and had you in my heart.

  7. John permalink
    September 10, 2008 10:17 pm

    I spoke with Pastor Jonathan today and he confirmed just how wonderful it is to have you guys there serving with him. I don’t doubt for a minute that God has great plans for you at Renovatus, you and Hugh have so much to offer. I would imagine that all of those gifts that God has wrapped up in you will come gushing to the surface in His perfect timing and the people of Renovatus won’t know what hit them (smile)…

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